asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will pay a subsidy on the spreading of lime on mountain land; and if there is any special machinery available for this type of work.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Lime Subsidy.
Subsidy covering the full cost of transport of ground limestone from the quarry to the farmer's premises is paid under the ground limestone transport subsidy scheme. Application of ground limestone also reckons for grant under the Land Project Mountain Grazings (Supplementary Keep) Scheme, under which improved grants were recently introduced. As these subsidies offer worthwhile inducement to farmers to apply lime to suitable mountain-type lands I would not propose introducing a further subsidy at this stage.
I understand that machinery for the spreading of lime on hill and on mountain-type lands is available through normal trade channels but, of course, such factors as firmness, evenness and slope of the ground will affect performance of the machinery.
In view of the decline in the number of sheep, would the Minister consider reviving for review the project which I initiated but never carried to completion of spreading lime and phosphates by the aerial method employed in New Zealand? When I had the matter under consideration I was frustrated by the existence of commonages on the mountains, and you could not fix any liability on anybody. I think possibly it is a matter of time, and that perhaps the situation will become simplified in view of the Minister's scheme for mountain fencing. I wonder would the Minister, in the light of the development that has taken place in the past 20 years, reopen the question and reexamine it, as I believe the grazing for sheep, particularly on the Donegal and Kerry mountains, would be vastly improved thereby?
I am quite interested in this same aspect. I have not really got any satisfactory work-out of it and, whether there is such a satisfactory work-out so far as our circumstances are concerned, I do not really know. The new factor that has entered into it, perhaps, since the time the Deputy would have been concerning himself with it is that apparently some new land machines have been developed that are suitable which were not available at that time. I am not saying that that is a write-off of the aerial idea. I am interested in that one, and I would hope to find whether in fact it can be applied usefully in the light of the development of the land spreading machines which are now more suitable to the hill and mountain spreading than what was available in the past.